Swimming’s Most Dominant World Records: Men’s Short Course Meters

Courtesy: Benjamin Freedman

After we dove into the most dominant female world records in short course meters a few days ago, it’s time to take a look at the men’s standards in the SCM pool.

We’ve seen two new world records set over the last couple of months, with Tomoru Honda smashing the mark in the 200 fly and Kliment Kolesnikov taking down Florent Manaudou‘s longstanding record in the 50 back. We’ve also saw a few #2 all-time performers emerge at the Short Course World Championships in December.

Here are the most dominant men’s SCM world records relative to the second-fastest swimmer ever:

Rank Event #1 Swimmer WR #2 Swimmer #2 All-Time % difference
1 100 IM Caeleb Dressel 49.28 Vladamir Morozov 50.26 1.95
2 200 fly Tomoru Honda 1:46.85 Daiya Seto 1:48.24 1.29
3 50 breast Emre Sakci 24.95 Cameron van der Burgh/ Ilya Shymanovich 25.25 1.19
4 100 fly Caeleb Dressel 47.78 Chad Le Clos 48.08 0.62
5 800 free Grant Hackett 7:23.42 Mykhailo Romanchuk 7:25.73 0.50
6 50 back Kliment Kolesnikov 22.11 Florent Manaudou 22.22 0.49
7 50 free Caeleb Dressel 20.16 Florent Manaudou 20.26 0.46
8 200 IM Ryan Lochte 1:49.63 Matt Sates 1:50.15 0.47
9 200 back Mitch Larkin 1:45.63 Arkady Vyatchanin 1:46.11 0.45
10 100 back Coleman Stewart 48.33 Ryan Murphy 48.50 0.35
11 200 free Paul Biedermann 1:39.37 Yannick Agnel 1:39.70 0.33
12 400 IM Daiya Seto 3:54.81 Ryan Lochte 3:55.50 0.29
13 400 free Yannik Agnel 3:32.25 Paul Biedermann 3:32.77 0.24
14 100 breast Ilya Shymanovich 55.28 Adam Peaty 55.48 0.23
15 100 free Kyle Chalmers 44.84 Amaury Leveaux 44.94 0.22
16 200 breast Kirill Prigoda 2:00.16 Daiya Seto 2:00.35 0.15
17 1500 free Florian Wellbrock 14:06.88 Gregorio Paltrineiri 14:08.06 0.13
18 50 fly Nicholas Santos/Szebasztian Szabo 21.75 N/A N/A 0

The swimmer owning the most dominant world record comes as no surprise, as Caeleb Dressel is nearly two percent better than anyone else in the men’s 100 IM. Although it’s an event he’s only ever contested during ISL competition, Dressel has shown an unparalleled level of ability in the super-sprint event, having set the world record twice in 2020 while going undefeated in the league through Seasons 2 and 3.

In second place is Honda, who brought the men’s 200 fly world record down from 1:48.24 to 1:46.85 this past October. Previously, this event was near the bottom of the list as Daiya Seto (1:48.24) and Chad Le Clos (1:48.32) were separated by just eight one-hundredths (.07 percent), but now it’s the event with the second-most dominant record.

The biggest drop among the records last year was Ryan Lochte’s 200 IM (1:49.63). Before 2022, this event sat fifth on the list, but after the Short Course World Championships, Matt Sates moved up to second all-time in 1:50.15, bumping down Lochte’s, world record to eighth. This is not as big as a drop as we saw in a few of the women’s events, but is still significant.

Dressel is the only swimmer, man or woman, to hold SCM world records in three individual events. All three are ranked in the top seven among men’s events, as he’s three-tenths faster than anyone else in history in the 100 fly (0.62 percent) and one-tenth clear in the 50 free (0.46 percent).

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Beginner Swimmer at 25
1 year ago

Dressel multi-stroke queen #slay

1 year ago

How can you measure dominance without determining first what it is?
Is Paul Biedermann a dominant swimmer by breaking world record by 0.01sec? Yes he is. Is Ariarne Titmus a dominant swimmer having multiple 3:56 results in 400FR? Yes she is despite the fact that she broke world record of Katie Ledecky by 0.04 sec only.
And what about so called soft world records? Was Regan Smith a dominant swimmer in 100BK? Not really. The competition in this event was under fast development and world records got broken almost each year. Also a swimmer can be a dominant one in the event that nobody else take seriously. Example, W1500FR before it became an Olympic event.
I understand… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

They did determine what it is. The measurement criterion they chose is at the same time a definition of dominance. Arbitrary, of course, but not unreasonable in my opinion, and not more arbitrary than any other.

Tan Ihorpe
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

No Titmus broke Ledecky’s WR in 400m FR by 0.06, not 0.04.

M d e
1 year ago

I’m not a fan of the 100 IM as an event, but hard to argue with this one. Was ridiculous.

the beast of east cleveland
1 year ago


NornIron Swim
1 year ago

Larkin’s 200bk is very underrated.

It was noted by someone in the comments of the sc worlds arricles and they are spot on. I was surprised to see it as low at 9th.

Reply to  NornIron Swim
1 year ago

Seriously underrated. Vyatchanin was a beast AND had the best underwaters I’ve ever seen on top of it – Some effort to take his WR down.

Reply to  NornIron Swim
1 year ago

That was me! I was mind blown when I saw how fast that was. Insane

Reply to  NornIron Swim
1 year ago

You said exactly what I was thinking.

1 year ago

Crazy he went 49.2 after breaking WR in 50 free and 100 fly day prior and going 45.0 in 100 free shortly before the IM.

1 year ago

That 50 breast record is a total joke. I think breaststroke should just allow dolphin kicks to 15 meters so that we can stop seeing these sneaky extra dolphin kick tricks.

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

So no breakout?

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

I don’t think allowing dolphin kicks is the answer, but extra dolphin kicks have absolutely contributed to a lot of breast and medley relay records.

1 year ago

Shame Nesty ruined Dressell…

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Swimm
1 year ago

I heard Dressel gave one of his World Championship medals to Nesty. Doesn’t seem like he feels Nesty ruined him.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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